Being obsessed with outcomes is messing up the chances you have to do more of the work you love.
The goal orientated world we live in preaches outcomes and in the business world that takes the form of KPI’s. Outcomes are like having dessert as the entree — it doesn’t make sense.
Much of my career has been focused on outcomes until I figured out how to get more of what I wanted.
The three phases I went through were these:
Part One: Hustle/work hard.
At the start, you don’t need any motivation towards an outcome you want in your life. Momentum happens because the sheer shine of your new idea does all of that for you.
When I first started blogging, the first fifty articles were the easiest to write. I had no expectations, audience or critics to tell me I was a moron. I’d sometimes write for eight hours at a time and it was easy to punch out 3000–4000 words with my eyes closed.
I preached the idea that you have to work hard because that’s what I was doing and thought “Well if I have to do so much work then everyone else should too.”
I still believe in working hard, but it’s not my only criteria anymore to enjoy life. Things have evolved and hard work alone is not enough.
Part Two: First success
In the first year of blogging, I had my first taste of success. I wrote an article that had 84,000 shares on Facebook.
I fell for the delusion that I’d be Tim Ferriss or someone of that stature within a few short months. Oh, how wrong I was…haha.
There were several more mini-successes after that, but there was a lot of nothingness in-between each milestone.
Part Three: The plateau
I spent much of my career on the internet trying to hustle, work harder than everybody else and produce as much content as I could.
Like anyone that has tried to focus on outcomes, there comes the inevitable part called ‘the plateau.’
Then there was a period where for about a year there was silence. I hit a major speed bump and wondered if writing about entrepreneurship was what I wanted to do.
Out of boredom from being single and hating my job, I kept going. There was still no change or progress for a while. I kept focusing on my goal but if the truth be told it didn’t really motivate me.
There were many times during this period of nothingness where I could have given up. Then, things started to change
Part Four: The realization
A man named Torio sent me a message one day saying I’d helped him.
From that moment, I stopped focusing on the outcome.
I discovered that focusing on the process was far more important. That process for me was giving everything I had to inspire one person. Step by step I just kept focusing on that goal.
It was the process of blogging I’d fallen in love with by accident.
Now all I concentrate on is following the process I’ve created and trying to be just 1% better every few months at helping people. I read, write, fail, get criticized, take risks and repeat.
What you learn is this:
Show up and commit to the process.
Quit trying to get something through an outcome-based approach and focus on helping people solve a problem. Every time you get to help someone it feels much better than achieving any goal.
Hitting 84,000 shares on that early Facebook post meant nothing compared to the entrepreneur who emailed me and didn’t commit suicide because of an article I wrote.
Focus on what you can give.
Enjoy the whole process.